Mozilla Game On and the Open Web mystery

“Game On 2010 is Mozilla Labs’ first international gaming competition. Game On is all about games built, delivered and played on the open Web and the browser.”

That sounds good, he? That’s what we thought too, and the reason why we submitted Naked on Pluto to the competition. Our game is entirely free software, developed with free software, makes use of the latest open standards but most importantly tries to look from a critical angle to the open Web and its glossy origin, Web 2.0. We did not enter to win (it would be nice of course!) but to have the opportunity to get feedback on our work from an interested audience and experts of the field.

So we thought.

The submission process was straightforward and completed a week before the deadline the 11th of January. A few days later when the competition was launched, a friend of ours told us that she could not see the game in the gallery. We were surprised and checked: the game was listed, no problem. But when she tried again, she still could not see it and our game page was not working either. Mystery…

In order to figure out why she could not see the game, the obvious thing we did was to logout from our Mozilla Game session, and browse the gallery anonymously, and then surprise, indeed, our game was not listed anymore. Out of curiosity we registered a new login, hoping that maybe our game, for some reasons, was only visible to logged in users. Nope. The same. No game visible.

To add insult to injury, we later on saw that our game page had been heavily edited (I wonder why if nobody but ourselves can see it) to remove all kind of random bits of relevant information, such as the link to our bug tracker, the credits to Jquery, the use of Facebook API and even a note on the use of CC BY-SA images for some icons, amongst other things.

The competition is almost over and it’s been nearly a month that we tried to get in touch with the person in charge at Mozilla. We sent three mails from different accounts and we know this person played the game as we could see the same name showing up in the game’s arrival lobby a few hours after the first mail was sent. That could be a coincidence but I doubt it.

It is a shame to reach this point of non communication, when the only thing we were asking for, was some feedback and public discussion on the themes covered in the game, such as the Open Web, social software, decentralized and centralized networks, and of course black boxes and privacy. We are still hoping to get some feedback from Mozilla …

UPDATE 03/02/11: follow the discussion on Reddit!

UPDATE 03/02/11: Here is the response we got from Mozilla after the post: Sorry to take so long to respond to your email. We took Naked on Pluto out of the gallery because the Facebook integration caused concern about user privacy, experience, and control. It was difficult to figure out why or how friends were appearing in the game when they hadn’t granted permission to be displayed. End user privacy and experience are huge factors that we consider when evaluating games for the gallery. In the case of your game, questions and concerns about how private user data was going to be used caused us to pull the game at this time.

UPDATE 10/02/11: After some mail exchanges with Mozilla, the game has been added back to the gallery and is now visible on the ‘game on’ site. Thanks everyone for spreading the word about the issue!

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6 Responses to “Mozilla Game On and the Open Web mystery”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alex McLean, Alex McLean, Pedro Figueiredo, Juan, Juan and others. Juan said: RT @nebogeo: Mozilla Game On silently bans Naked on Pluto from competition? http://bit.ly/gmZwbR [...]

  2. alex says:

    Er, I meant to say more than ‘this sucks’.

    Problems always occur when people use the word `open’ as a moral position, but without any clear context giving meaning to that word means. For example Steve Jobs arguing with google about who is the more `open’, easy to argue your ground when you don’t ever say what the marker is.

    Here according to the rules, the`open web’ doesn’t mean free/open source, doesn’t mean free/open data, free/open API or free/open tech. It just means using some API that uses HTTP and has some kind of spec you can read under whatever conditions are imposed. There’s not a lot to love there.

    It also doesn’t mean free/open competition, or free/open discussion around it. You can get knocked out without being told or made aware by the website itself, with no response before the end of the competition. Great!

    It seems that naked on pluto was silently dropped because the judges weren’t equipped to understand a game that makes a political point about the subject matter of the competition. That might have been a mistake — maybe they got a lot of spammy entries so didn’t have the time to engage their intelligence, or read the blog, interviews etc… But that they passed an opportunity to engage in dialogue and perhaps correct their mistake speaks volumes. It looks like there is an unwritten rule that satire about the `open web’ (whatever that might be) is not tolerated.

    In summary, this sucks.

  3. proppy says:

    Hi,

    Just to let you know, we had exactly the same issue with pandipanda (firefox4 required):
    http://aminche.com/pandipanda/pandipanda.html

    It didn’t make it to the gallery, and we don’t know why :(

  4. [...] following a submission of Naked on Pluto to the Mozilla Game On competition. Aymeric describes the full story here, and it looks like a case of satire mistaken as the real thing, but it's just a shame that we [...]

  5. F. Medeiros says:

    I can see it on the Gallery and open the game page, just can’t play it because I dont have a facebook account.

    Maybe they fixed it?

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